Thirty percent of the XFL 2023 regular season has been completed. As a result, the league has already seen a separation between the top and bottom of the XFL totem pole.
With seven weeks left to play before the playoffs. Two teams remain unbeaten at the top of their respective divisions, while two others remain winless with very little if any, margin for error left.
Let’s see how all eight XFL teams stack up as we head toward Week 4.
XFL 2023: Post Week Three Power Rankings
#1: Houston Roughnecks (3-0)
The Roughnecks are now 8-0 in their XFL history. After another solid all-around performance on Sunday night against San Antonio.
Houston took a body blow early at home, but once they got going, they rolled easily and then went into cruise control for a 22-13 victory.
Houston is the favorite to win the XFL championship in May. They have a potential league-winning offense with multiple weapons. And Brian Stewart and Wade Phillips defense is playing at an extremely high level.
The Roughnecks finally play their first road game of the season in Week 4. In a matchup of the league’s best versus the worst. Houston is heading to Orlando at the start of a three-game stretch away from home. The Roughnecks outclassed the Guardians in week one, 33-12. It’s hard to imagine that we won’t see the same type of outcome in Week 4.
#2: D.C. Defenders (3-0)
The Defenders laid claim to the North with their third straight divisional victory. In an exciting 34-28 triumph over St. Louis. D.C. came up big in front of a rabid crowd.
The Defenders may not have the following that the Battlehawks supporters will provide at their own home field. But it can be argued, that pound for pound, D.C. has the most invested and best XFL fan base. The Defenders are now 5-0 at Audi Field dating back to 2020.
The final incomplete phase of the Defenders, their passing attack took a positive step forward against the Battlehawks. It wasn’t earth shatterring by any stretch. However, after throwing for less than a hundred yards in each of their first two outings. D.C. passed for over 200 and two scores in Week 3. That type of balance with a ground game that rushed for over 130 yards on Sunday, and the Defenders big-play defense, sets up the Beer-Snake fueled team for a potential championship run.
D.C. stays home in Week 4; they will welcome the 0-3 Vipers into the District on Sunday night. It’s part four of a five-game divisional stretch before the Defenders head to St. Louis to meet the Battlehawks again in Week 5.
#3: St. Louis Battlehawks (2-1)
The Battlehawks once again fell down two scores on the road. And yet again, St. Louis rallied to take the lead. However, this time around, their opponent pushed ahead of them in the final frame. D.C.’s defense, ground game, and crowd proved to be too much for the Battlehawks to overcome.
Anthony Becht’s bunch took a gut punch in week 3, in a pivotal battle for the North divisional lead. But St. Louis certainly has the firepower to bounce back. They showed a lot of mettle, and fight in their first three road games.
The Battlehawks are finally coming home in Week 4. The three-year and change wait is finally over. St. Louis has their beloved pro football team back. Arlington rides into STL for what will be the most electrifying environment in the XFL.
#4: Arlington Renegades (2-1)
I debated sliding Arlington down to five. They would have definitely slid all the way to six or maybe seven with a loss at home. But the Renegades stole an ugly one late beating the Guardians 10-9. A loss would have put Bob Stoops bunch in last place behind Orlando. But thanks to their stellar defense, and a late scoring drive orchestrated by Kyle Sloter. Arlington averted disaster.
After getting a break in the schedule playing the struggling Guardians at home, the Renegades draw the short straw in Week 4 of being the team that trots into St. Louis for the Battlehawks’ long-awaited home opener. Over 30,000 fans are expected to be in attendance. In what should be an emotionally charged environment. Arlington must put forth a better offensive effort next Saturday than they did in Week 3.
#5: Seattle Sea Dragons (1-2)
After two straight games of suffering self-inflicted last-second losses. Lady luck was finally on Seattle’s side in Vegas. The Sea Dragons have breathed new fire into their season. Thanks to June Jones’s run and shoot, that shot right threw piercing winds and the odds to capture their first victory.
Ben DiNucci and Josh Gordon have a chance to be the most prolific duo in recent spring pro football memory. The Dragons’ lethal passing combination is blazing through the league at a record pace.
Although Seattle is just 1-2, they could easily be 3-0. And because there is only one unbeaten team now in the XFL North. The Sea Dragons are just one game out of the playoff mix. They are returning home for a critical late Saturday night game at Lumen Field against San Antonio. Could their first victory be the start of a new trail being blazed for the rest of 2023?
#6: San Antonio Brahmas (1-2)
The Brahmas were in a tough spot heading into Week 3, facing off with the league’s top team in a Lone Star Showdown with Houston. Rookie head coach Hines Ward against grizzled veteran Wade Phillips. And rookie quarterback Jack Coan against the Roughnecks’ elite defense on the road.
San Antonio came ready to fight early on against Houston. But they were outmatched by the league’s top team. The Brahmas defense slowed down Houston in the second half, but a scoreless goal to go sequence late down nine sealed their fate in a 22-13 defeat.
San Antonio has to regroup and find a way to get back in the Southern race with their two fellow Texas teams ahead of them in the standings. The Brahmas travel to Seattle on Saturday night, and one of those two teams will emerge at 2-2 when the smoke clears.
#7: Vegas Vipers (0-3)
The Vipers fall under the category of not being as bad as their record indicates. They lost another challenging game in Week 3, falling in the final seconds 30-26. The shootout with Seattle was the most exciting contest of the early XFL season to that point.
Vegas got a significant boost with Brett Hundley taking over the controls at quarterback, despite winds that were upwards of over 40 miles per hour. The Vipers’ strength of their passing attack showed great potential moving forward.
Ironically enough, Rod Woodson’s Vegas squad has played the role of a “cooler” whose presence is designed to stop others from winning. Except they are doing it to themselves. The Vipers have had leads in each of their games and still came out on the losing end.
Winless Vegas is headed to D.C. next Sunday night. The snake-bitten Vipers meet the Beer-Snake-championed Defenders for the second time in three games. It sounds like hyperbole because it’s only Week 4, but the Vipers’ increasingly slim hopes of making any semblance of a meaningful season are at stake. Another loss will all but end any long shot hopes of contending for a playoff spot.
#8A: XFL Ball Spotter/Referee Eddie Garcia (1-0)
Not all heroes wear red capes. Sometimes they wear red hats. Eddie Garcia is an XFL dedicated ball spotter. A specific role designed to speed up the pace of play, but the spotter also holds on kickoffs if needed, like in the windy Las Vegas conditions Saturday night.
Officials who participated in the XFL three years ago under the head of officiating, Dean Blandino, have advanced their careers. The league is not just starting, continuing, and advancing the professional careers of players, coaches, executives, and football personnel. But it can also prove as a springboard for referees. See Maia Chaka, the first black woman hired by the NFL as an on-field official. She worked XFL games in 2020.
Maybe Eddie Garcia’s moment in the sun, or in this case, the wind, blows away as a fleeting moment. But perhaps one day, when Garcia is working full-time in the NFL. This will be the viral moment that always stays with him.
#8: Orlando Guardians (0-3)
From one surprisingly positive aspect of the XFL in Week 3 to an on-going negative one.
Although in fairness, this past weekends performance by Orlando was a lot better than their first two weeks.
Look, the law of averages dictates that not every team can go 10-0 or even 5-5 in an eight-team league. Somebody has to lose these games. But Orlando has been a mess to this point. It goes beyond losing.
In their defense, The Guardians were more competitive in Week 3. They had a legit chance of winning their first game. Tony Carter’s defense came to play, and Paxton Lynch when he wasn’t getting blindsided, made some plays through the air and on the ground.
Ultimately, Orlando’s 10-9 defeat to Arlington was a moral victory after a rough open to their 2023 campaign.
The Guardians are back home at Camping World Stadium on Saturday night, squaring off against the team that trounced them 33-12 in week one, the Houston Roughnecks. The odds will be heavily against Orlando competing against Houston, let alone finally snapping the Roughnecks unbeaten streak.
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March 6, 2023 at 2:45 pm
Not bad Mike, but I’d have gone with AR below SD (as you almost did). One extra win but looking poor getting it while SD finding ways to lose. SD ann move the ball. AR can’t. SLoter first start so he gets a pass, and they won, but they need more Offense. Sloter should do better next week. AR D looks good.
As far as OG – they looked more focused and humble. They may game a win before too long.